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Egyptian bedouins

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Egyptian bedouins

The Life of the Egyptian Bedouins

The Bedouin people of Egypt can easily be described as a people with no place to call a home. Studying the Bedouins show that they have a deep and unique culture. They do not get involved in politics, and they live a humble and modest life. The Bedouin Nomads of Egypt are predominantly Muslim. Therefore, their beliefs, practices and rituals will be the same as that of a common Muslim. I will discuss the doings of Muslims but more importantly, I will concentrate on the beliefs and other aspects that make the Bedouin people unique and different from other Muslims.

In Islam, there is something known as the five pillars. These five pillars detail how to carry on your religious duty. The five pillars of Islam start off with the belief in the oneness of God and Muhammad as his prophet, as well as belief in all other prophets before Muhammad. The next pillar is prayer. Prayer must be carried out five times a day. The first prayer called Fagr (streak of light) must take place between when the first light of the day is seen until 10:00 am. The second prayer called al-duhr (noon prayer) should be done between noon and the next prayer which is the asr (afternoon) prayer. The fourth prayer of the day is the Maghrib (sundown) prayer. The last prayer is called the Isha (night) prayer. If any prayer is missed at any time of the day for any reason, it can be made up at a later time. The next pillar of Islam is al-sowm (the fast). Muslims must fast during the Islamic month of Ramadan. Muslims engage in this practice in order to gain endurance and compassion for the poor. The fourth pillar of Islam is zakah (charity), every Muslim is asked to give a fraction of their money to the poor. This fraction is usually a percentage of their wealth. The final pillar is the Hajj (journey to Mecca), a mature Muslim must visit Mecca in Saudi Arabia at least once in their life. A Muslim that visits Mecca seven times in their lifetime can visit the Dome of the Rock is Jerusalem. The Dome of the Rock is the second most holy place in the world for Muslims.

Most reputable literature written on the Bedouins were written by anthropologists that have spent time and traveled with them. One of these anthropologists, Joseph J. Hobbs, spent two years with the Ma?Awa Egyptian Bedouins. Through these travels he was able to document the stories and traditions of these desert people.

It is most fascinating that the Bedouins of Egypt live off of the deadest land in the world. They travel from place to place looking for the highest proliferation of plants for their ibexes and gazelles to feed. They depend on these animals not only for food but also for money. Small animals such as ibexes and gazelles can be sold for a good wage after they are grown. Bedouins can invest in a camel using money that they get from selling these small animals. The Bedouins have a symbiotic relationship with camels. The camels can be used for transportation as well as food. Bedouins take great pride in their camels often treating them as a member of the family. It is not uncommon to see a family posing with their camel in a photograph.

Marriage with the Bedouins is the next most popular topic of conversation after camels. Many of the practices and rituals that take place before marriage are similar to those of other Middle Eastern societies. There is a strong preference for marriage between a man and his bint?amm, (Cole p. 71) that his paternal uncle's daughter. The Al Murrah tribe do not allow their women to marry down into a group that is of lower social status. Men are allowed to marry a woman from a lower social group but the children will not be considered full members of the tribe. The major requirement that must hold true is that members of the tribe marry someone of equal social status, even if the perspective spouse is from a different tribe.

The practices that follow the death of an Egyptian Bedouin are simple and swift. As the news of a death spreads, people come together and raise their palms and pray the Exhortation:


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Keywords: are there bedouins in egypt, what were bedouins, what do bedouins eat, what did bedouins eat

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